According to the GAO, an offeror may revise its price as part of a final proposal revision, unless the procuring agency expressly limits the scope of proposal revisions.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the agency properly accepted the awardee’s revised price because agency had not limited the scope of discussions so as to exclude price revisions.
An agency must identify weaknesses or deficiencies in an offeror’s proposal when the agency conducts discussions as part of a task order competition, according to a recent GAO bid protest decision.
In Mission Essential Personnel, LLC, B-407474, B-407493 (Jan. 7, 2013), the GAO held that a procuring agency erred by failing to inform an offeror of two weaknesses or deficiencies in its proposal. The GAO concluded that discussions must include this information even when the procurement is a task order competition conducted under FAR part 16.
“We’ll tell you how we’ll manage the contract–after you award it to us.”
That, in essence, appeared to be the position taken by one contractor recently in response to a Department of Defense solicitation. The contractor in question failed to provide an operations and management plan required by the solicitation, pledging to provide it after award. Not surprisingly, the agency assigned the contractor an “unacceptable” score. And equally unsurprising, the GAO denied the contractor’s bid protest.
When, in discussions, a procuring agency tells a contractor that an aspect of the contractor’s proposal is a weakness, the natural response is to correct the problem. In one recent GAO bid protest decision, however, correcting a weakness may have cost a contractor a $30 million award.
In EMR, Inc., B-406625 (July 17, 2012), the procuring agency informed the contractor that certain labor rates appeared low in comparison to other offerors’ rates, and labeled the low rates a weakness. In response, the contractor raised the rates in question, thereby increasing its overall price–then narrowly lost out on a low-price, technically acceptable contract.
The GAO’s verdict? The agency did nothing wrong.